Delirium (1979) Forgettable "Video Nasty" about 'Nam vet assassins

Theme Song: A decent score jumping between orchestral and synth is credited to David C. Williams (Critters 3, The Prophecy II, L.A. Law: The Movie).

Interesting Dated References: Vigilante justice orchestrated by groups of businessmen; People caring about people having ‘Nam flashbacks.

Best Line:In reference to a man who is a total weirdo that goes around to office buildings sizing up broads — “Maybe he’s one of those weirdos that goes around to office buildings sizing up all the broads.” Said in reference to shooting a hostage in the head — “I’ll blow her into monkey meat.”

Social Context: Delirium would probably be totally forgotten if not for being included on the original list of Video Nasties. It’s seriously not even that terrible. Well, at least not with the gore. Sure, it has terrible elements, like sweeping generalizations about ‘Nam vets and over-simplification of when and where women are wearing clothing, but it’s not overly offensive.

Summary: Playing like two separate films strung together by the most minute of plot details, Delirium has one half dealing with a maniacal killer, and the other half dealing with some type of businessman revenge club.


Susan returns home to find her roommate murdered and she is able to immediately identify the perpetrator to the police. How does she know who the murderer is? Because we learn the roommate had stopped by Susan’s office and bumped into her murderer, Charles, who happened to also be there looking for job. The roommate was so into Charles she took him home to murder her.


To make things uninteresting, we then see Charles running around the woods, being plagued by visions of the killing he committed, which employed a large decorative spear that was hanging on the wall. This is such bullshit because we all know decorative shit hanging on walls is almost always hollow and/or plastic.


Charles then roams the countryside having ‘Nam flashbacks and stumbling upon women who are either scantily clad or bathing. Each time he murders with little-to-no effort or gore. At the final bathing woman’s house, his prowling is interrupted by a grocery delivery. As Charles is using a butcher knife to hack up the delivery driver (with little-to-no effort or gore) the alarmed bathing woman dries off, puts her hair up, puts on a sundress, and then comes out with a shotgun and kills Charles.


Then the movie is over. Then a different movie starts. This movie is about a group of businessmen who hire ‘Nam vets to exact justice on criminals that fall through the cracks. The only two things tying this movie to the earlier movie are the following: 1. Susan (whose roommate was killed in the opening scene) is the secretary for Mr. Anderson, a member of the vigilante group. 2. Charles was a hitman for the vigilante group before he started randomly killing all the moderately-attractive women he stumbled upon.


So after 6 hours of detective shenanigans, the vigilante group gets discovered by Susan and the cops. This leads to stupid meetings and talk about Charles and ‘Nam. Then there’s a shootout. Stern, the maniacal leader of the vigilante group, has ‘Nam flashbacks, gets shot, then while dying mumbles something that sounds like, “Sucrets®”. Seriously, it can be heard at the end of the audio clip above and I guarantee none of you can figure it out.

Worth Mentioning:
– Charlie’s Vietnam flashbacks appear to have been filmed on a dirt road in Florida.
– Susan (Debi Chaney) keeps her hair righteously blown-out throughout the entire movie.

– Filmed in and around St. Louis with some good shoots of the riverfront industrial area.


Poster and Box Art: The art for Delirium is way solid. Fucking knife-wielding hands flying everywhere, shrieking women, guns, a hitchhiker … some destitute artist really earned his fucking $150 art fee, because the cover is ten times better than the movie. This art is used on most versions (Paragon, Video Concept), but Academy released a big box with this art, which is way worse:


Fucking Aviators and a butcher knife? That’s what you airbrushed? The glasses don’t even have arm/earpieces, what were you thinking? And both of these objects are just flying through the air?


Delirium also has a solid wordmark with excellent typography.

Availability: At one point in time a shitty VHS transfer was available to stream on Amazon, but seems to have vanished. Used VHS on eBay.

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